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TOPIC: Solstice at Stonehenge


L

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RE: Solstice at Stonehenge
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A record crowd of about 36,500 revellers has welcomed the dawn of the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge.
The number of people attending the event caused roads in the area to become gridlocked in the hours leading up to sunrise at 0458 BST.
Druid ceremonies took place alongside music and Morris dancing, however overcast skies obscured the sun.

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L

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Exactly 24 years ago, in a field beside the A303 in Wiltshire, the might of Margaret Thatcher's militarised police descended on a convoy of new age travellers, green activists, anti-nuclear protestors and free festival-goers, who were en route to Stonehenge in an attempt to establish the 12th annual Stonehenge free festival in fields across the road from Britain's most famous ancient monument. That event has become known as the Battle of the Beanfield.

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While rain dogged this year's summer solstice at Stonehenge, some 30,000 people still turned out to witness the sun rise on the longest day - the highest turnout in five years.

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A turnout of more than 30,000 Summer Solstice revellers braved the rain and gathered at Stonehenge today to watch dawn break on the longest day of the year.
The solstice annually attracts an eclectic mix - Druids, hippies, sun worshippers and those simply curious to experience the ancient festival.

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L

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Solstice 2007
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Sounds of the solstice.



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RE: Solstice at Stonehenge
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Some solstice celebrations still centre on June 24, which no longer is the longest day of the year. The difference between the Julian calendar year (365.2500 days) and the tropical year (365.2422 days) moved the day associated with the astronomical solstice forward about three days every four centuries until Pope Gregory XIII changed the calendar, bringing the solstice to June 21. The evening of June 23 is St. John's Eve, the time before the celebration of the Feast Day of St. John the Baptist. This event coincides with the summer solstice, which technically can be from June 20-26. St. Patrick Church, 1420 Oak Hill, Youngstown, plans a St. John the Baptist bonfire celebration from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday with food, music, crafts and children's activities. A bonfire is a traditional element of midsummer observances in France, Portugal, Denmark, Lithuania, Finland, Germany and the United Kingdom.
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L

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More than 24,000 people from druids to fans heading for a nearby music festival hailed the sun rising on the longest day of the year Thursday at Britain's ancient Stonehenge monument.
At 4:58 am (0358 GMT), following an all-night party on Salisbury Plain in southwest England, dawn broke on the summer solstice over 5,000-year-old stone circle, one of the most famous prehistoric sites in the world.
Revellers wearing antlers, black cloaks and oak leaves huddled at the Heelstone -- a twisted, pockmarked pillar at the edge of the monument -- to cheer the rising sun.
English Heritage, which runs the site, said numbers swelled above the 20,000 they expected because extra people joined the party along the way to the Glastonbury music festival.

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In pictures: Stonehenge longest day celebrations

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Solstice 2005
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